Real Madrid Four Factors

57.6% eFG  16.9% TOV  29.5% oREB  22.3% FTr

Fenerbahce Four Factors

62.0% eFG  17.2% TOV  29.9% oREB  22.6% FTr

Fenerbahce and Real Madrid are playing for very little at this point from a standings perspective. Both teams are guaranteed a playoff spot, and although Madrid’s upcoming schedule is not the easiest, it seems both teams will have home-court advantage in the first round. From that standpoint, this game could mean a lot down the line. With both teams having the inside track to the Final Four, this is their last chance to face each other in person and prepare for a possible do or die game in May. The two teams first saw each other in Istanbul in Round 15, in a chess match between two brilliant coaches that ended in a 2-point win for the home side and a final score well below both team’s averages. A lot of the strategic decisions on both sides involved how to use certain lineups to match up with the other roster full of talented players. Luckily for us, we have the lineup data and the benefit of hindsight to see what worked last time, and what we may see more of in Madrid.

Pablo Laso typically utilizes a lot of different big men this season. Edy Tavares and Gustavo Ayon traditionally give opposing defenses trouble because of their skill inside but Anthony Randolph, Felipe Reyes, and Trey Thompkins can also create problems for a team not ready to defend inside. Because of their size and ability to throw different combinations of bigs at you, the prototypical player to slow down Real Madrid’s offense is a player like Nicolo Melli or Gigi Datome who can defend bigs and space the floor on offense. The first game between Fener and Madrid was won when these 2 shared the floor with Jan Vesely, the team’s best interior defender, and arguably Coach Obradovic’s best defender of any kind. By putting Vesely on the floor with 2 players who can guard bigs and spread the floor on offense, Obradovic made Real Madrid uncomfortable in their typical lineups. Vesely’s athleticism is hard for some bigs to contain and Ayon clearly had trouble early, giving up a dunk off of a slip, and a foul after getting blown by on back-to-back plays late in the first quarter. In the 21 minutes that Vesely, Melli, and Datome shared the floor, Fener scored 37 in 33 offensive possessions while allowing just 20 points in 31 defensive possessions. They also outrebounded Real Madrid 25-11, getting 15/17 (88.2%) of the boards on their defensive end and 10/19 (52.6%) on their offensive end. In the remaining 36 possessions without all 3 of those players together, Fener lost 43-28 and was outrebounded 20-12. Fenerbahce surrounded Vesely with shooters, and left no one else for Ayon (who finished -13) to match up with. With these shooters also being more than capable pick and roll, and post defenders, Madrid could not take advantage of mismatches on the other end that their size typically creates. The best +/- player for Real Madrid in the first matchup was Edy Tavares with +14. His ability to set screens on offense and move his feet to guard Vesely, as well as get rebounds on both ends, was crucial to Madrid in the 17 minutes that he played. If Obradovic uses Vesely, Datome, and Melli together again, Real Madrid will definitely have more answers for them this time around. Hopefully that means we don’t have to wait until 5 minutes remain in the 4th quarter to see Tavares on the court with those 3 players this time around.

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